The Ecologist


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When the government breaks the law over air pollution, who will be able to hold it to account? London Air Pollution View from Hackney, 10th April 2015. Photo: DAVID HOLT via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

UK Government attacks public right to environmental justice

Paul Mobbs

30th November 2015

Little publicised government plans to 'reform' court costs are intended to foreclose access to environmental justice for all but the wealthiest individuals and communities, writes Paul Mobbs. Meanwhile cuts to agencies and regulators will make it ever harder for them to do their jobs - making public participation in environmental protection all the more important. more...
Photo: PAN North America.

EPA bans toxic pesticide mix on GM crops

The Ecologist

26th November 2015

The US Environmental Protection Agency has just withdrawn its authorization for a toxic mix of two herbicides, glyphosate and 2,4-D, to be used on GM crops. The move came in response to a lawsuit claiming the initial registration was unlawful. more...
Doing your toxicology in a computer has three big advantages (for the chemical industry): it's quick, cheap, and can be manipulated to systematically understate the real health hazards. Photo: Alejandro Juárez via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Triumph of digital toxicology: why the US won't regulate deadly chemicals

Valerie Brown and Elizabeth Grossman

27th November 2015

A six-month investigation finds that the revolving door between government and the chemical industry has led the EPA to rely on easily manipulated toxicology research carried out entirely on computers - and this 'in silico' science often trumps both biology and epidemiology when it comes to regulatory action, or lack of it. The result? Toxic substances remain in everyday products. more...
Melka group oil palm plantations near Pucallpa, Peru, cutting deep into primary rainforest, April 2014. Photo: Rainforest Rescue via FPP.

Peru rainforest defender threatened: 'we will kill you'

The Ecologist

19th November 2015

Death threats to an indigenous forest defender in Peru have followed his success in closing down an illegal palm oil operation on his tribe's lands carried out by a member company of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, now meeting in Kuala Lumpur. more...
Vanishing rainforest: soon more oil palm plantations. Seen on flight between Miri and Mulu, Sarawak, Malaysia. Photo: Bernard DUPONT via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Sustainable palm oil? RSPO's greenwashing and fraudulent audits exposed

Chris Lang / REDD Monitor

19th November 2015

A new investigation of palm oil plantations, companies and auditors has found that the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil is failing to deliver on its promise, writes Chris Lang. Widespread fraud, collusion between auditors and companies, conflicts of interest, and a flawed complaints system mean that RSPO-certified palm oil may be destructively and illegally produced. more...
Farmland is inundated with toxic red mud following the 2010 Ajka alumina plant accident, in Hungary, which injured hundreds and killed ten. Photo: public domain.

Recycle industrial wastes to cut 1Gt from world's carbon emissions

Wilf Lytton / Sandbag

1st December 2015

There's a quick climate win for COP21 negotiators to ponder, writes Wilf Lytton - one that could convert a billion tonnes a year of CO2 into mineral form while neutralising caustic wastes like coal ash and slag. But first, industries and regulators must adopt a 'recycling' mentality to these hazardous materials, rather than the 'dump and forget' model that prevails today. more...
Dr. Mark VanGessel brandishing a Palmer's amaranth on a Delaware farm - one of the glyphosate-resistant superweeds that's pushing biotech companies to develop 'stacked' herbicide resistant traits in soybeans and other crops. Photo: Delaware Agriculture vi

Regulators and retailers must stop ‘next generation' GMO imports

Helen Wallace

20th November

A new wave of ‘next generation' GM crops resistant to multiple herbicides, may be approved for import into the European Union, writes Helen Wallace, even though the health impact of the herbicide combinations is unknown. Regulators and retailers must refuse to authorise these GMOs or allow their use in any part of the food chain. more...
Shining a light on the TPP in Chicago, 8th November 2013. Photo: Backbone Campaign via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The TPP - blueprint for the 1000-year Reich of global capital

pete Dolack / Systemic Disorder

16th November 2015

Thanks to New Zealand, the full text of the Trans Pacific Partnership has been made public. And as Pete Dolack writes, it's a disaster for health, environment, workers and democracy - one that will unfold over years and decades to come, as investors and corporations consolidate their power over elected governments and cement in the global rule of unaccountable capital. more...
The EFSA, open for business ... provided you're a global pesticide corporation. Photo: Corporate Europe Observatory via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

EFSA decides: no cancer risk from glyphosate

The Ecologist

13th November 2015

Europe's top food safety regulator has ruled that the world's top selling herbicide, glyphosate, does not cause cancer - in defiance of the WHO and overwhelming scientific evidence. The decision opens the way for a 10-year EU re-approval next year, before its Chemicals Agency has released its own findings. more...
A large stack at the Sault Paper Mill, Ontario, Canada. Photo: Billy Wilson via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Voluntary schemes cannot replace environmental regulation

Donal McCarthy / RSPB

16th November 2015

A new review of the performance of politically fashionable 'voluntary' approaches to environmental protection demonstrates limited effectiveness, writes Donal McCarthy. Laws and regulations play a vital role in protecting nature and the wider environment - for which voluntarism is no substitute. more...
Chafer Multidrive FC applying glyphosate and podstick to oilseed rape as a pre-harvest dessicant. Photo: Chafer Machinery via Flickr (CC BY).

Glyphosate - EFSA must make a full and open scientific assessment

Jorgo Riss, K. Jensen & F. Veillerette

6th November 2015

The European Food Safety Authority is about to decide on a re-authorisation of glyphosate, a 'probable carcinogen', based on unpublished industry studies. In this Open Letter to the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, campaigners call on him to ensure an open, scientifically robust process - and to immediately restrict the herbicide. more...
Don't let pesky nano-particles in candy spoil your children's Halloween. Photo: Cozy Coffin Motel by Kevin Dooley via Flickr (CC BY).

Ban the tiny horrors in our Halloween candy!

Jaydee Hanson & Evan Bromfield / Center for Food Safety

31st October 2015

The European Parliament voted this week to regulate nano-materials in the pending EU law on novel foods, write Jaydee Hanson & Evan Bromfield. But no such moves are taking place in the US. Let's make this the last time our children are exposed to these hazardous substances in their Halloween candy! more...

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A bee supping nectar in a crop of oilseed rape / canola, Germany. Photo: Peter Biela via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Bee keepers challenge EU's bee-toxic pesticide permit

The Ecologist

29th October 2015

The EU's decision to authorise a new 'neonic' pesticide knowing it was highly toxic to bees has been challenged in the European Court. A similar permit granted to sulfoxaflor in the US has already been struck down by a federal court. more...
Devastated mountains in Romania's Sebes Valley. Photo: Magda Munteanu / BIRN (Balkan Investigative Reporting Network).

Austrian timber giant ransacking Romania's forests

The Ecologist

21st October 2015

Austrian timber company Schweighofer is linked to large-scale illegal logging which accounts for half of Romania's timber production. An EIA investigation finds that almost all the illegal timber ends up in the company's mills. more...
You want chlorine with that? With TTIP, we will soon be forced to eat US-style meat - hormone-fed animals, chlorine-washed chicken, beef soaked in lactic acid. Photo: Anthony Albright via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Be very scared: TTIP and 'regulatory cooperation'

Alex Scrivener / Global Justice Now

20th October 2015

The 'regulatory cooperation' clauses in TTIP threaten to strip away vital EU protections on food, health and environment, writes Alex Scrivener. Indeed it has already begun: the mere prospect of TTIP has persuaded the EU to back off on plans to ban lactic acid-treated beef and 31 toxic pesticides. We must reject the entire package! more...
Grant Shapps MP cutting away at 'red tape' to demonstrate the government's commitment to corporate deregulation no matter what the cost to health, safety and environment. Photo: Department for Communities and Local Government via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

UK's business deregulation is out of control

Christine Berry

27th October 2015

Buried in the minutes of an obscure new quango is evidence of vast corporate capture of the UK government, writes Christine Berry. The order of the day is to strip away business regulation without regard to the public costs - so long as companies save money. more...
'When we lied, we never meant you to believe us' - Paul Willis, VW's UK managing director. Photo: still from

No pollution? No deaths? Who does VW think it's kidding?

Damian Kahya / Greenpeace Energydesk

15th October 2015

It was a remarkable spectacle, writes Damian Kahya: MPs trying to get straight answers out of VW's top man in the UK over the 'dieselgate' scandal. Of course our cars gave false test results. But who would ever believe those stupid tests anyway? How many people died from all the extra pollution? None! There was no pollution! more...
Scanning electron micrograph of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (yellow, round items) killing and escaping from a human white cell. Photo: NIAID via Flickr (CC BY).

Restrict antibiotics to medical use, or they will soon become ineffective

Laura J V Piddock, Richard Meek, Victoria Wells, Hrushi Vyas

23rd October 2015

Antibiotics have saved countless millions of lives since the 1930s, but their power is failing due to their massive use in factory farming, horticulture, aquaculture and industry, says a new report from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Antibiotics. We must stop all inessential uses of antibiotics, or face a future where we risk death from minor injuries and routine surgery. more...
Vertriebszentrum West - Volkswagen group's distribution centre in Germany. Photo: Duhon via Wikimedia (CC BY).

Car pollution regulator's auto industry millions

Lawrence Carter / Greenpeace Energydesk

12th October 2015

The UK's official agency for car pollution testing has taken £80 million from the auto industry in ten years, a Greenpeace investigation reveals, while its senior staff and engineers have a 'revolving door' relationship with car makers. more...
Not much fruit in Sunny D 'fruit punch'. Photo: Mike Mozart of TheToyChannel and JeepersMedia via Flickr (CC BY).

Toxic innovation: Volkswagen is the tip of a destructive iceberg

Paul Levy, University of Brighton

20th October 2015

Corporations can be incredibly innovative, writes Paul Levy. But it's not always in good ways. Think of VW's clever device for fooling emissions tests, social media software that's way too intrusive for its own good, or sugary drinks marketed as 'healthy' when they're no such thing. Sadly, there's a lot of it about! more...
A cob of Portuguese maize: Portugal being one of the only countries in the EU to permit the cultivation of a GMO maize variety. Photo: Rosino via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

France, Germany, Poland ... ten European nations to go GMO-free

Oliver Tickell

30th September 2015

With the deadline for EU countries who wish to ban genetically GM crops drawing near, writes Oliver Tickell, Poland is the latest to register with the European Commission to go GM-free. Now the division of the EU into pro and anti-GM zones may test the single market beyond its limits. more...
Dead trees in a Duke Energy Buck coal ash pond, 2014. Photo: Dot Griffith, Waterkeeper Alliance via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Coal ash: America's multi-billion ton toxic legacy

Ben Whitford

29th September 2015

America's coal-fired power plants produce 140 million tons of ash a year, reports Ben Whitford, most of it dumped in open storage ponds that contaminate drinking water with arsenic and heavy metals. And now Presidential candidate Jeb Bush is promising to scrap 'new and costly' (actually feeble) EPA regulations before they have even been implemented. more...
It's not just VWs. Photo: Luc via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

It's not just VWs - we need fewer cars, and less driving

Steffen Böhm & Ian Colbeck

25th September 2015

With all diesel cars failing EU clean air standards in real world driving, and the worst 22 times over the limit, there's only one real solution, write Steffen Böhm & Ian Colbeck: adopt sustainable transport strategies to keep cars off our streets and break our dependence on them. more...
Navitus Bay as it would be seen from a nearby beach. Unacceptable visual impact? Or a low carbon working landscape of the kind we will all grow to love? Image: LDA Design.

Navitus Bay offshore wind refusal - UK energy and climate policy unravels

Alan Neale

25th September 2015

The government's decision to turn down the 1GW Navitus Bay offshore wind farm near the Isle of Wight sends a chilling message to developers: 'don't waste your time and money here!' The refusal of planning permission based on visual impact to a geological world heritage area is capricious and threatens to kill off an industry in which the UK has been - until now - the world leader. more...
A pile of pants? Golf Diesel. Photo: Peter P. via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

How Volkswagen got caught cheating emissions tests by a clean air NGO

Paul Nieuwenhuis

23rd September 2015

The discovery that Volkswagen has been 'gaming' vehicle emissions tests has taken the world by storm, writes Paul Nieuwenhuis. But it comes as no surprise to campaigners who have long been aware of the huge gap between 'official' emissions and real word pollution. Where were the regulators? And why did it take an NGO to uncover the scandal? more...


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